What restaurants can teach you about making clients happy after a bad experience

It’s one of the most interesting questions I’ve ever heard.

It’s powerful, effective and diffuses any potential problems immediately.

It’s a question I learned from a friend who once was a restaurant manager.

As you can imagine restaurants typically get a few complaints everyday.

Something was undercooked.

Or it was the wrong order.

Or the service was horrible.

Whenever a customer complained about something at my friends restaraunt he would always ask two questions.

1) what was the problem?

2) what would you like me to do to fix this situation for you?

I asked him about the second question.

I was curious to know why he would ask that.

He told me he discovered (quite by accident) people will usually ask for much less than what you are prepared to offer.

Take for example someone complaining how the meal tasted.

As a manager he could “comp” the whole meal (make it free), give them a free dessert and a voucher to entice them to come back again.

But people always asked for much less.

Usually it was to get a different item from the menu or have the meal redone.

This gave my friend an opportunity to turn a bad situation to his advantage.

He could now do something the customer didn’t expect.

Like “comp” the meal.

Or make any desserts they had with their meal free.

Or whatever else that would fit the situation and make the customer happy in an unexpected way.

The point is he made sure they left his restaraunt with a good feeling.

He understood that people will forget what you said or what you did but never, ever how you made them feel.

And in today’s extremely competitive environment you never want to lose a valauble client over a mistake they perceived you made.

Sometimes however you never get the chance to make it right.

Like if a client goes home, drops the rug you “cleaned” on the floor and sees dirt jump out of the rug because you didn’t dust it properly.

What’s the client going to feel about you then?

How are you going to turn this situation to your advantage?

Unless they call to complain (which rarely happens) and give you a chance to make it right, they’ll just choose your competitors next time.

That’s why dusting a rug should always be a priority.

Something a RugBadger can easily do for you.


Stephen Dusty Roberts